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What will happen to immigration policy and law following the 2017 General Election?

It is the Queen’s Speech today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the coming Parliament in 2017 and 2018. But no party managed to win an overall majority in the General Election. We have what the political pundits and historians call a Hung Parliament in which there is a party which has more MPs than any other, but not enough MPs to outvote all of the other parties if they all voted together. This is going to make it very difficult for the new Government to pass primary legislation, by which I mean new Acts of Parliament. But any Government needs to look like it is doing something and…

21st June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What does the Democratic Unionist Party think about immigration?

Picking through varous manifestos and public statements of the Democratic Unionist Party and its leading members reveals a few clues about the stance of the party on immigration issues. This may prove critical in the lifetime of the coming Government — whether that be days, weeks or months — because it is only with the support of the DUP that any new immigration legislation can be passed and the support of the DUP may be crucial if challenges are brought to immigration rules and regulations laid before Parliament. Before going further, though, bear in mind that immigration law is not a devolved issue so it is not something that parties…

13th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Recruitment ends tomorrow for 65 new salaried judges of the First-tier Tribunal

An exercise to identify candidates to recommend for the post of salaried judge of the First-tier Tribunal opens today. There are 45 immediate vacancies and 20 that are expected to arise in the near future. Unlike previous exercises for the First-tier Tribunal, which identified candidates for a specific chamber, this exercise will identify candidates who can be deployed to any of the First-tier Tribunal Chambers. This is an excellent opportunity for solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives from all areas of the professions, as candidates do not need to have previous judicial experience to apply. Most initial assignments are expected to be to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber and the…

23rd May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Immigration law and policy after the election: unfortunately, the Conservative manifesto tells us what is coming

Some people are posting up comparisons of different immigration policies of different parties. I cannot see the point. The result of the next General Election is a foregone conclusion and has been since Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected leader of the Labour Party. Surprisingly, some on the left even now do not understand this, but the opinion polls are very, very clear. Labour has edged up a little in the latest polls but the gap remains oceanic in scale. And opinion polls historically overestimate Labour support, not underestimate it. So, if we want to know what is going to happen in immigration law and policy after the election, all we have…

18th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

New Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1078

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1078 was laid yesterday, 16 March 2017. It weighs in at 269 pages. Despite that, there was no space for any implementation of the MM judgment. The main headline changes are: Period of overstay before 12 month re-entry ban imposed reduced from 90 to 30 days Only one application for leave can be made at a time with any subsequent application being treated as a variation of the first Second phase of Tier 2 changes implemented, including increasing the salary threshold for experienced workers to £30,000 for the majority of new applicants and closure of the Short Term Staff sub-category Tier 2 migrants coming to…

17th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Very interesting analysis of immigration stories in the “Whitetops”

Very interesting if depressing read: Last September, SubScribe looked at the prevalence and tone of anti-immigration stories produced by Fleet Street, accompanied by a bar chart of front pages.  At the time there were 195. By the end of the year, there were 277, with more than half coming from two newspapers – the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. That original study dealt only with stories relating to immigration and a rash promise was made to update with further analysis. SubScribe has now looked at all of last year’s coverage of immigration, race relations and the treatment of foreigners (with some exceptions, detailed on the right) by those two papers. It was not a…

2nd March 2017 By Colin Yeo

November 2016 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the November 2016 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This episode I start with the some updates about the immigration tribunal and some tribunal case law, move on to cover some important legislative and procedural changes – a section of the Immigration Act 2016 coming into force, new EEA regulations and new Immigration Rules — and then cover an interesting case where the accused persecutor contests the facts of an asylum claim and end with the long awaited Supreme Court judgments on the deportation rules. The material is all drawn from the November 2016 blog posts on Free Movement. If you would like to claim CPD points for…

1st March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Latest quarterly immigration statistics: some highlights

Just a few bits and bobs from the details of the latest quarterly statistics: Outstanding EU law residence document applications stands at 95,146 (source). That is a LOT. It is hard to see how the Home Office can meet the 6 months deadline for deciding these applications. Outstanding citizenship applications stand at 24,297 (source). Permanent residence applications increased over fivefold between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016, from 7,637 to 44,103 (source). British citizenship applications by EEA nationals actually fell between 2015 and 2016, from 17,158 to 14,901. This was presumably due to the additional hurdles erected in November 2015 (source) The number of asylum applications decreased by 7% to 30,603 (source). The initial…

23rd February 2017 By Colin Yeo

The astonishing breadth of Trump’s Muslim ban is truly breathtaking

Take Trump seriously but not literally, said Peter Thiel, Paypal founder, Gawker litigation financier and prominent Trump supporter. Well, it turns out that Trump meant what he said. Literally. Muslims will be banned, literally. The wall will be built, literally. Mexico will pay for it, literally. President Trump's press sec just announced on Air Force One that the Mexican wall will be funded by a 20% import tax from Mexico… — Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) January 26, 2017 If you doubt the discriminatory intent and think this is about national security or public safety, it isn’t. Former New York City Mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani has talked in public about…

29th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Total of 31 illegal immigrants removed from UK as a result of Right to Rent

The same report goes on to reveal that the Home Office is no longer even attempting to monitor the outcomes of the “papers, please” Right to Rent scheme. This is despite uncharacteristically strong criticism of this failure from David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, in his review of the Home Office’s “hostile environment”. Source: Total of 31 illegal immigrants removed from UK as a result of Right to Rent – Property Industry Eye

12th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Review of OISC published by Home Office

The latest triennial review of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has been published by the Home Office. The organisation will not be abolished and will continue as a non departmental public body at arms length from Government. There is also a very brief Ministerial statement. The main finding seems to be that the OISC needs to both cut costs and increase its income from fees paid by advisers, moving towards zero cost to the taxpayer by 2020. The provision by the OISC of free CPD training is criticised (this was in fact abolished last year) as is the free provision of other services such as competence assessments. The report…

12th January 2017 By Colin Yeo

Following Early Christmas referendum PM insists “Christmas means Christmas!”

Following the narrow “yes” vote in the Early Christmas Referendum, Theresa May announced today that the United Kingdom will unilaterally change the date of Christmas in 2017. The Prime Minister stated in a speech at  Santa’s Grotto inNicholsons, Maidenhead that “Christmas means Christmas” and that despite a close result she will trigger the 2017 Christmas countdown early by opening the first door of her Advent Calendar by the end of March. This will leave Theresa May and the British Government with 25 days in which to negotiate future present arrangements for British children. Mrs May told Christmas shoppers The people voted for an Early Christmas, and as prime minister I will make sure that we get…

24th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Tribunal makes order requiring dental age assessment of young asylum seeker

In a new case on dental age assessments, the tribunal has ordered that a young asylum seeker to undergo a dental x-ray and age assessment. If he refuses, his court case will be struck out. The case also gives general guidance on the correct approach to be followed in similar cases. The new case is ZM and SK, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Croydon (Dental age assessment) [2016] UKUT 559 (IAC). It follows on from the Court of Appeal judgment in London Borough of Croydon v Y [2016] EWCA Civ 398, covered earlier on Free Movement: Court of Appeal says children can be required to be x-rayed to challenge…

20th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Latest immigration statistics published

The latest quarterly immigration statistics show that immigration to the UK for the year ended June 2016 was 650,000, the highest level ever recorded. Net migration stood at 335,000, just below the previous high of 2015. An estimated 49,000 more British citizens left the UK than returned from abroad. You can see the summaries and breakdowns by theme here and the ONS analysis here. This useful chart from the ONS shows the overall trends, where we can see increasing work related migration over time, a sharp fall in studuents and everything else holding broadly steady: It would be fair to say that international migration is not falling and is certainly nowhere…

2nd December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Immigration barrister Tariq Rehman of Kings Court Chambers disbarred

The Bar Standards Board has taken the decision to disbar Tariq Rehman of Kings Court Chambers in Birmingham. You can Google them if you want but I am not linking to them. Mr Rehman is understood to have been involved with other immigration firms in the past and has also recently been trading as KC Chambers. The decision to disbar Mr Rehman means he will no longer be allowed to practice as a barrister. This latest decision comes following a string of decisions by regulators concerning Mr Rehman. In 2014 the Legal Ombudsman took the unprecedented step of “naming and shaming” Mr Rehman in order to protect the public. At that time…

28th November 2016 By Colin Yeo

New Practice Statement on what tribunal “caseworkers” can do instead of judges

There is a new Practice Statement on what tribunal caseworkers (i.e. employed lawyers) can do instead of judges in the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber. Some of the functions are definitely ones I would consider to be judicial rather than administrative. I am not sure what has changed since last time but the list is quite a long one: Case management powers under Rule 4(3)(a), 4(3)(c), 4(3)(d), 4(3)(f), 4(3)(h), 4(3)(i), and 4(3)(k); Striking out of an appeal for non payment of fee and reinstatement under Rule 7; Treating an appeal as abandoned or finally determined under Rule 16; Withdrawal functions under Rule 17 (with the exception of Rule 17(2));…

23rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Free Movement major redesign coming soon: sneak preview

There is a major redesign coming soon to Free Movement. You can take a sneak peak at the new design here. It is not finished yet but we are getting close. There are also changes coming to pricing, membership structure and the way the website works to try and improve access to relevant content. The redesign has been brewing for a long time and is based on three objectives: Making life easier for members based on the reader survey earlier this year Meeting the needs of non members seeking help with immigration problems Putting the website onto a fully sustainable footing First of all, some numbers. Free Movement readership now runs at…

23rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Garden Court Chambers only top ranked London set for immigration law

The Chambers and Partners listings for 2017 were released last week and Garden Court Chambers has retained its position as the only top ranked London set of chambers for immigration law. The write up is very flattering: The foremost set leading the way at the London Immigration Bar, Garden Court Chambers houses an unsurpassable team of advocates who handle the full gamut of immigration matters. Its practitioners, from top-quality juniors to renowned QCs, appear in the highest courts acting on behalf of vulnerable clients and high net worth private individuals alike. Many of them have recently been leading the way on policy and casework to relieve the refugee crisis in Calais and across Europe….

8th November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Government loses Article 50 court case. What might it mean for Brexit?

The Government has today lost a major case in the High Court on the issue of whether a Parliamentary vote is required before the Government issues notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to the EU that the UK is leaving. If the High Court’s decision stands, it means that the Government cannot begin the formal legal process of leaving the EU without there first being a vote in Parliament. The full High Court judgment is available here. The decision turns on upholding the constitutionally sacrosanct principle of Parliamentary sovereignty: This subordination of the Crown (i.e. the executive government) to law is the foundation…

3rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

JCWI crowdfunding for challenge to the five-fold increase to immigration tribunal fees

The Government is raising immigration and asylum tribunal fees by an unprecedented amount, in the face of almost universal opposition. Help us ensure that not only the rich are able to challenge incorrect Government decisions, by contributing to this urgent legal action. You can donate here: Challenge to the five-fold increase to Immigration Tribunal fees

18th October 2016 By Colin Yeo

Liberalism is failing. It does not have to.

On 16 June 2016, during a referendum campaign dominated by the issue of whether there are too many foreigners in the UK, Member of Parliament Jo Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times outside a surgery in her constituency. She later died from her injuries, leaving two young sons and a husband. A man arrested and charged with her murder later cried “death to traitors” in court. On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the referendum in question was held. On the face of it, the question was whether the UK should leave the European Union. The British people voted to leave by a slender majority of 52:48. The principle motivation for the…

5th October 2016 By Colin Yeo

New York Declaration: Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants

The New York Declaration Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants starts well: Since earliest times, humanity has been on the move. Some people move in search of new economic opportunities and horizons. Others move to escape armed conflict, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, terrorism, or human rights violations and abuses. Still others do so in response to the adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters (some of which may be linked to climate change), or other environmental factors. Many move, indeed, for a combination of these reasons. It tails off a bit after that but it is very important reading if you want to keep up to date on the…

30th September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Upper Tribunal Judge Goldstein retires today

Upper Tribunal Judge Goldstein (72) was admitted as a Solicitor in 1987. He was appointed a part-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1996, full-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1999 and Legal Member of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal in 2000. He was appointed Vice President of the Immigration Appeals Chamber in 2003 (now know as Upper Tribunal Judge of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Tribunal Member of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in 2005. Source: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Upper Tribunal Judge Retirement: Goldstein

22nd September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Section 3C does not apply to EU law residence applications

The question before us is whether a person who at one stage was the spouse of an EEA citizen with a right of abode in the United Kingdom but no longer has that status and right is to be treated as having leave either under the Immigration Act 1971 or otherwise after his application for permanent residence as the former spouse of an EEA citizen has been rejected. The answer is a firm “no”. Under the Immigration Act 1971 sections 3C and 4, someone applying for variation of leave under that Act — that is under UK immigration law, rather than the 2006 Immigration (EEA) Regulations — has their leave extended…

5th August 2016 By Paul Erdunast

Inspection reports published on ‘lorry drops’, country information and intelligence functions at the Home Office

The latest from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt: The report found that the Home Office had maintained the quality of its initial response despite the significant increase in ‘lorry drops’. The report also found that: there was a risk that minors placed in the care of social services would run away the Home Office was not as strong when identifying potential victims of trafficking the number of initial decisions on asylum claims fell well short of the increased number of claims made. The Home Office also published its responses accepting the majority of recommendations, as usual. Sounds like an asylum backlog may be building. Given…

22nd July 2016 By Colin Yeo

What does Brexit Minister David Davis think about free movement?

Conveniently, David Davis MP, our new Minister for Brexit, made a detailed speech and wrote a detailed article on the subject of free movement and negotiations with the EU. From these we can see quite quickly that he does not like free movement. Of people, anyway. Towards the UK, anyway. He probably loves free movement of Brits to other countries and free movement of goods, services and capital. Back in February 2016 Davis set out his views at length in a speech to the Institute of Chartered engineers. It is reproduced in full on his website (if it disappears let me know, I’ve got a copy). He is dismissive of the Norwegian…

13th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Specific assurances not needed for 3rd country removal of families to Italy

Another Dublin / 3rd country removal case. Now that Italy has made general assurances to their EU partners that families will be accommodated together in appropriate conditions that do not breach Article 3, following the judgment in Tarakhel v Switzerland, specific assurance will not need to be made in any individual case. Ms Chandran submitted that there needed to be specific assurances from the Italian authorities in line with Tarakhel and thus the claimant and her child should not be removed. In my view a specific assurance is unnecessary, indeed unworkable. It would be futile for the Italian authorities to allocate a place to the claimant and her child, given the heavy demands,…

5th July 2016 By Paul Erdunast

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Upper Tribunal Judge Retirement: Pinkerton

Upper Tribunal Judge Francis Trevor Woodman Pinkerton retires with effect from 5 July 2016. Notes to editors Upper Tribunal Judge Pinkerton (70) was admitted as a Solicitor in 1970. He was appointed a part-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1995, a full-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1999 and a Deputy District Judge (Civil) in 2000. He was appointed Regional Adjudicator (now known as Resident Judge) at Taylor House, London, in 2002 and thereafter appointed a Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration Appeals Chamber). Source: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Upper Tribunal Judge Retirement: Pinkerton

5th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Immigration tribunal dismisses freedom of religion case for Afghan imam

Interesting case where the appellant did not run a Refugee Convention or Article 3 ECHR case against his removal, instead relying on Article 9 ECHR, the right to freedom of religion. He argued that his religious work for and with the Afghanistan Islamic Cultural Centre in the UK, of which he had become the leader, engaged Article 9 and his case was supported by a 1,000 name petition and over 100 pages of letters of support, including one from the Afghan ambassador. The tribunal referred to the case of UE (Nigeria) & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWCA Civ 975 on the positive contribution a person could make being relevant to the balancing…

4th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Upper Tribunal Judge Retirement: Eshun

Upper Tribunal Judge Kate Esi Eshun retires with effect from 1 July 2016. Notes to editors Upper Tribunal Judge Eshun (65) was called to the Bar (I) in 1983. She was appointed a part-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1992 and full-time Immigration Adjudicator in 1994 (now known as Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). She was appointed a Legal Member of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in 2001 (now known as Tribunal Judge of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission). Source: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Upper Tribunal Judge Retirement: Eshun

1st July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Supreme Court finds migrant workers not protected by discrimination laws

In short the court concludes that immigration status as a domestic worker is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The court suggests that the law should be amended to remedy this protection gap and refers to the particular vulnerability of migrants on tied visas and the review of the type of visa in 2015, covered here on the blog: Home Office concedes its new rules risk abuse of overseas domestic workers. From the Supreme Court’s very useful press summary: BACKGROUND TO THE APPEALS The issue in these appeals is whether the mistreatment of migrant domestic workers who are vulnerable because of their precarious immigration status amounts to direct or indirect…

22nd June 2016 By Colin Yeo

Latest on legal challenge to detained asylum cases

Very useful update from my colleague Shu Shin Luh: R (Hossain and Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1331 (Admin) Mr Justice Cranston this week handed down judgment in Hossain & others v SSHD, the test case (with four representative claimants) on the lawfulness of the “Detained Asylum Casework” process established by the Detention: Interim Instruction policy (DII) and the Interim Process Map, which was introduced after the Detained Fast Track was suspended on 2 July 2015. The Interim Process Map was unpublished at the time these proceedings were issued and only disclosed in proceedings, and it is understood, remains unpublished. Two of the claimants were…

10th June 2016 By Colin Yeo

High Court strikes down unfair decision in DFT of vulnerable victim of torture

In the first judgment of its kind since the suspension of the Detained Fast Track on 2 July 2015, the High Court struck down the Home Secretary’s refusal and certification of an asylum claim which was made in the structurally unfair and unjust Detained Fast Track (DFT) and ordered the Home Secretary to remake the decision afresh without regard to material obtained in the unfair process. The case is R (on the application of Zafar) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1217 (Admin). The High Court also directed the Home Secretary to pay substantial damages for falsely imprisoning the Claimant, a vulnerable victim of torture, for…

25th May 2016 By Shu Shin Luh

High Court finds Adult Dependent Relative rule lawful but opens door to individual challenges

The challenge by organisation Britcits to the virtual prohibition on the entry of adult dependant relatives introduced in 2012 has been dismissed: R (on the application of Britcits) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 956 (Admin). Despite the disappointing outcome, though, there is a distinct silver lining to the judgment. For background reading on the rule, see this earlier blog post: The new immigration rules for Adult Dependant Relatives: out with the old… In short Mr Justice Mitting felt constrained to dismiss the application due to Aiken LJ’s judgment in MM (Lebanon) and if he had not been bound by that authority he would have declared the rule…

20th May 2016 By Colin Yeo

Afghan interpreters for UK armed forces lose claim that relocation scheme was unlawful

Former interpreters for UK armed forces in Afghanistan have lost their claim that the Afghn interpreter relocation scheme was unlawful on the basis it was less generous than the Iraqi equivalent. They succeeded on the basis that the public sector equality duty had not been properly complied with but this made no difference overall. Judgment: Hottak & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs & Anor [2016] EWCA Civ 438 (09 May 2016)

10th May 2016 By Colin Yeo

Luqman Onikosi: how can a deserving healthcare case navigate a minefield of adverse case law?

Much has been said by this blog over the years about the cruel effects of the decision in N v UK. Rarely though has the human cost been so clearly displayed than in the ongoing case of Luqman Onikosi.  He came to the UK as a healthy young man to study economics and international relations. However, during this time he learnt that he had contracted hepatitis B, the disease that claimed his other two brothers. He is currently enrolled on a master’s course at the University of Sussex. After his original student visa expired, he applied to remain on medical grounds, which the Home Office refused. He cannot finish his…

5th May 2016 By Paul Erdunast

Me on The World At One about Michael Gove’s EU law claims

Michael Gove yesterday claimed amongst other things that: Inside the EU we have to accept that anyone with an EU passport – even if they have a criminal record – can breeze into this country. That will include countries in the pipeline to join the EU – Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. He also claimed that we are unable to deport serious criminals from other EU Member States. You can hear me discussing from 12 mins 53 secs. Immigration barrister @ColinYeo1 – it's "categorically wrong" to say we cannot refuse entry to criminals from EU, citing govt stats #wato — The World at One (@BBCWorldatOne) April 19, 2016 You can…

20th April 2016 By Colin Yeo

Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team is recruiting

The Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team wishes to recruit two outstanding advocates who can demonstrate a strong commitment to civil liberties. We expect to recruit individuals with up to three years post qualification experience. Candidates must be immigration specialists committed to practising within the principles and ethos of chambers. The successful candidates will be able to demonstrate an impressive practice (for their call) or achievement in the academic or NGO fields. Closing date: 28 April 2016 at 4pm We seek to operate a fair recruitment policy. Applications from ethnic minority and women candidates are particularly welcome. To apply, please complete the application form and equal opportunities monitoring form, send them by email…

19th April 2016 By Colin Yeo

Portrait of an immigration lawyer

The long read: It has never been easy to win as an immigration lawyer – but now the government is trying to make it impossible If you haven’t seen this already you really should. Source: The lawyer who takes the cases no one wants | Aida Edemariam | News | The Guardian

15th April 2016 By Colin Yeo

Summary of Upper Tribunal judgment on ETS challenge available

Still no sign of the full judgment being available, just this summary and this press release from the solicitor. Summary of the summary: 8. Ultimately, the Tribunal has subjected all of the evidence to detailed and careful scrutiny. Having done so, it concludes that the Secretary of State has not discharged the legal burden of establishing that either Appellant procured his TOEIC certificate by dishonesty. The core of the Secretary of State’s case was that both Appellants had cheated. The Tribunal concludes that this accusation has not been proven to the requisite standard. 9. To quote from [92] of the judgment: “The legal burden of proof falling on the Secretary…

23rd March 2016 By Colin Yeo
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